Presenting the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) Inquiry report into the UK events industry, at Altitude 360 in London yesterday (16 December), Inquiry Chairman Nick de Bois, MP, said he’d like to see competition between London boroughs to host a new major conference venue in West London.
“We have the right and ability to empower local authorities. Four or five could even get together. We shouldn’t be restricted to one area,” he said.
“The inquiry found that the UK events industry is one of the most dynamic, creative and effective in the world. It supports infrastructure investment and employs over 530,000 people,” said de Bois. “With the right support we can continue to be the envy of the world and bring more business, investment and visitors to the UK.”
The MP listed key recommendations from the Inquiry, including a call for an Events Visa and support for an Event Industry Safety Guide, as well as a call to review the tax raising powers of local government, De Bois urged the industry to get better at sharing best practice and forming partnerships with local authorities to push the case for the value of the UK events industry.
Following de Bois’s presentation, Michael Hirst, Chairman of the Business Visits and Events Partnership (BVEP) welcomed the report, adding that “in 13 years of chairing the industry’s umbrella body, it is the first time I have thanked politicians for a contribution. It is great to know we now have a group of parliamentarians, from a broad swathe of political views, working together for events. Nick and his group have taken our views to the doors of ministers. I think the report will help secure improved policies towards the sector”.
There was still time to build on the legacy of the Olympics, said Hirst, who noted that new BVEP research to be published in the first quarter of 2014 would show the events sector well on its way to exceeding the predicted £48.4bn value mark by 2020. He said growth would show six per cent for 2013 and a further three per cent projected in 2014.
Hirst added that a new events manifesto would be published by the BVEP before the 2015 general election. He listed the Let Britain Fly campaign as another example of an issue the BVEP and Britain4Events were trying to lead on, as well as lobbying for the revision of the Tour Operator’s Margin Scheme.
The Inquiry’s report was then discussed by a panel, including VisitScotland’s Neil Brownlee who brought examples of best practice and subvention initiatives from North of the border, and Mash Media owner Julian Agostini who urged the whole sector to get behind Confex as a unifying platform for the industry. The Inquiry had acknowledged Confex’s major sponsorship of the APPG report.
Caroline Mackenzie from Contendam and Tracy Halliwell from London & Partners also contributed to the panel discussion from an agency and destination point of view respectively.
For a full report on the APPG Inquiry and its results, see the January 2014 edition of Conference News.
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